Dear Muslim Parents
You like me as a practicing Muslim who abhor not just the act of killing innocent people but even more so that someone who may be associated with Islam is being once again identified as the perpetrators.
As Adults with life experience we may be able to better deal with the discrimination and negative pressure this will bring better than our children. Please be proactive to protect your children’s mental and emotional Heath as well as their love for this beautiful religion of Islam.
Here are six things we can do as Muslim parents in living in the west.
#1 – Talk to your children about what happen. Discuss why this is in direct opposition to what Islam teaches. Talk about love, compassion and mercy in Islam. It more important now than ever that we embody the characteristics of the Messenger of Allah (saw).
#2. Reach out to your child’s school NOW. As them to be proactive in monitoring the school environment and offer to come in and talk about Islam. It’s easy to subconsciously thing if we ignore it and act as if everything is normal in our lives then things will “just go away”. But don’t wait until after your child has been bullied or called names before you bring it to your child’s school attention. Below is a letter we sent to our child’s principal. Please feel free to use it.
As I am sure you are all aware of the recent Mass-Shooting incident San Bernardino California on Wednesday. Two of the shooters have been identified as having Arabic names which would give the indication that they may be Muslim (though their religion has not been verified). We would ask you and your staff to be vigilant regarding the atmosphere of the school as it relates to our CHILD NAME. Likewise, caution should be taken by staff and teachers in profiling and attributing this tragic event as being an action that is condoned or endorsed by Muslims of any lifestyle. Muslims are outraged over this incident and were outraged even before the shooter’s identity was revealed.
We offer to come to the school an assist as presenters to students or staff regarding information about Islam and the culture of Muslims if needed.
YOUR DIRECT CELL PHONE NUMBER
#3. Pay attention to signs your child may be struggling with emotions.
Are their grades going down?
Are they staying inside more and not maintaining their regular social schedule?
Are they losing interest in normal activity?
Are they telling you incidents of being bullied or called names and loss of friends?
All these things can be signs of depression.
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Irritability, anger, or hostility
- Tearfulness or frequent crying
- Restlessness and agitation
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If your child experience any of these signs or symptoms, please seek professional help for them. Contact Muslim Wellness Foundation [muslimwellness.com] for information and referrals.
#4. Reduce social media and TV. Constant negative images and Islamaphobic talk on both TV and social media can make us feel like every single non-Muslim is attacking us. However, the reality is not that bleak. As adults we are better able to separate TV and social media from reality and than children. Our children’s social information is much different than ours were. To many of them social media can bee seen as reality. They are not thinking about the fact that even their own social media circles are a small self-determined view of a larger world. Instead, plan more family dinners, games night and outing to replace screen time with positive, loving interactions.
#5. Make extra effort for your child to be around other Muslims. When experiencing trauma being able to talk and socialize with other with similar experience can be healing. Peers, community and family is a necessary social support system during the times of stress to create resilience. Sometimes living in the west where we are minorities, we can go days without seeing or conversing with another Muslim. This can make us and our children feel very alone. This feeling of being alone and singled out can lead to feeling of isolations and thoughts which may be different than reality, such as thinking things are worse than they are. Knowing others are not just dealing with the same challenges but also overcoming them in various ways can be a much needed hopefulness during these times.
#6. Increase your worship as a Family. Now more than ever it’s important that young children and teenagers stay connected with the true meaning of belief and worship. Defining what authentic worship of Allah based on the true Islamic principals of peace, love, and building a personal relationship with your lord is more essential than ever.
Nothing strengthens our resolve as Muslim better than prayer. Praying together more often gives you a chance of reaffirming Islam as the center focus in your house and an opportunity to offer small teaching opportunities. If this is a new habit for your family make if fun and engaging. For younger kids you may want to quote a short hadith and offer rewards for who ever remembers it the next day. For older kids try giving them a hadith and asking them to prepare a 5-minute explanation for the family the next prayer or even the next morning. This engages children in the process, gets them to think about Islam in a very real manner and gives you, the parents, a chance to help them understand Islam better.
May Allah Protect Us, Assist Us and Guide Us and our families on the straight path.
Your Sister in Islam